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COLUMN ONE; Showing Faith in Discretion; The Fellowship, which sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, quietly effects political change. It acts with the blessing of many in power.
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Christianity; Prayer; Humanitarian aid; Politics; Foreign policy
Author: Getter, Lisa
Date: Sep 27, 2002
Start Page: A.1
Section: Main News; National Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

He said the Fellowship opened the C Street house to members of Congress because "it helps them out. A lot of men don't have an extra $1,500 to rent an apartment. So the Fellowship house does that for those who are part of the Fellowship." Rent is $600 per month for each resident. Meals cost extra, but cleaning is provided by eight college-age volunteers from the Fellowship and a "house mother" who washes the congressmen's sheets and towels.

The group has offered financial aid to congressmen in other ways too. When the late Sen. Harold Hughes' daughter died in 1976, the Fellowship paid funeral expenses. Hughes left the Senate to become a full-time member of the Fellowship. When former Sen. Mark Hatfield needed money in the 1970s, the Fellowship loaned him thousands, gave him $10,000 as an honorarium, and arranged for a lucrative deal to rent property he owned in Oregon--arrangements later criticized by the board. "We would never do it today," said board President Richard Carver, assistant secretary of the Air Force in the [Reagan] administration.

The book was inspired by the Fellowship and its back-channel diplomacy. In an illustration of the group's unusual diplomatic status, [Douglas Johnston] describes how members of the Fellowship traveling in Somalia in 1981 met with its president, who told them he was willing to meet with the president of Kenya "in the spirit of Christ" to avoid bloodshed. They recounted the story to Air Force Gen. David Jones, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Fellowship member, when they returned.

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